P.I.C.K.: How it will help your home school

Want to improve vocabulary skills? 

Focus on reading!

Many kids struggle with vocabulary. Think about it, they are just starting to learn to read and there are questions about definitions, unique spellings, and pronunciations to learn. For kids and parents alike, it can feel overwhelming. What is the best way to improve your child’s vocabulary? 

Focus on reading!

Research indicates that children with larger vocabularies have higher achievement when they reach high school age, as well as higher reading achievement. The key is to start reading with your children at a young age and it will develop into a life-long habit. As their reading skills improve, so will their vocabulary skills.

There are many ways to get your kids enthusiastic about reading. Take them to the library or bookstore and ask them to help pick out books. What interests them? Dinosaurs? Nature? Animals? Look for books with topics that they will find fun. 

Remember the acronym P.I.C.K.

P is for Purpose.
-          Is this reading for pleasure? Trying to learn something? Talk to your kids about why they are reading or want to read a particular book.

I is for Interest.
-          If your child likes trains, don’t just think about Thomas the Tank Engine if they are young; think about steam engines or how trains helped build the country. This is where you can start to look at chapter titles or reading the book jacket.

C is for Comprehend.
-          Can your child understand what the book is about? Is the way in which the subject matter is presented makes sense to your child? Is the subject matter simply at a higher level than your child can understand? If you aren't sure, while at the library or bookstore, read a few pages with your child and see if they understand what was just read to them or that they can explain the subject. Kids will easily become turned off if they feel frustrated when trying to understand the subject matter or story.

K is for Know the Words.
-          Kids should be able to understand the majority of the words on the page. Then you and your child can focus on learning the other words that are new, thus improving their vocabulary. Remember the “five finger rule.” If there are zero or one unknown words per page, the book is too easy. If there are two or three unknown words per page, the book is a good level. If the book has four or five words that are unknown, the book is too difficult. Think about using Zaner-Bloser’s Word Wisdom program when considering the level of a book or the number of unknown words on a page. When reading with your child, keep a good dictionary on hand and make looking up those new words part of the reading process. My First Dictionary is a good choice for children ages five and up. The Merriam-Webster Children’s Dictionary is perfect for ages seven to 12.

So once you have a plan for selecting the right books for your child and are armed with a good dictionary and word-building plan, the next step is picking classroom-style products. There are many programs to help supplement your child’s reading and vocabulary skills while homeschooling. Programs like Read for Real from Zaner-Bloser offers a proven strategy for improving comprehension, vocabulary, and fluency through content-area reading.

When you utilize the P.I.C.K. method, your child will not just improve their reading skills, they will improve their vocabulary skills with other tools.

Written by: Clare Booth of Zaner-Bloser


Lindsay said…
Wonderful post! We have been making more of an effort to get to the library each week and I see the fruit of the effort now! We have always been big readers but I have been seeing Sammy's love of books grow and his interest in picking out books to read!

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